The death of a 40-year-old Manhattan executive who fell off a yacht while boating with her entrepreneur husband in the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern tip of Long Island Saturday is being considered a "tragic accident," authorities said.
The body of Ninive Petrocelli, who owned an architectural glass company in midtown, was recovered a few miles off Montauk Point Sunday morning, about 12 hours after she fell into the water.
Police believe Petrocelli fell overboard as she was walking from the bow of the 45-foot vessel to the cabin to get a sweater, according to Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick. She had left her husband, John Petrocelli, waiting by the bow, and when she didn't return in a timely fashion, Fitzpatrick said he called 911.
John Petrocelli, 54, told authorities he didn't see or hear her fall overboard,
Her body was found about 12 hours later, 5 nautical miles from where their yacht had been anchored.
Fitzpatrick said Petrocelli had no life jacket on when she was found, and she was not believed to be a strong swimmer. He also said the passageways on the sides of the boat are narrow -- only about 14 inches wide -- and it's plausible she slipped and fell into the water.
"There is no evidence of criminality," Fitzpatrick said.
The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how Petrocelli died, and detectives are expected to investigate whether alcohol was a factor in her apparent fall.
Ninive Petrocelli owned Cristol Inc., an architectural glass wholesale distribution company based in Manhattan that does global business. John Petrocelli is president of Petrocelli Construction Corp., a Palisades Park, N.J.-based company he founded in the 1980s that has worked on luxury residential and commercial projects from the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to the Upper West Side.
John Petrocelli has several children from a previous marriage. Fitzpatrick said he has been cooperating with investigators.